Four Earthquakes Youth Academy players had the unique opportunity of joining San Jose's first team in England for 10 days of training at the grounds of club partner Tottenham Hotspur.
Alfred Edmonds, Travis Pillon, Nick Lima and Sam Engs practiced with the Tottenham Hotspur Academy at Spurs Lodge, played in a scrimmage with the Earthquakes against Colchester United and saw Everton topple Chelsea in an FA Cup match at Stamford Bridge. Led by newly-appointed Academy Technical Adviser Troy Dayak, the group of promising youngsters saw first hand what the highest level of soccer entails.
Refreshed from their trip abroad, the foursome took a moment to answer 10 questions about their Tottenham Hotspur experience.
1) What was the most memorable moment from the trip?
Alfred Edmonds: Training with the Tottenham Academy because very few people get to experience training like that.
Travis Pillon: Honestly, there wasn’t just one. This whole trip was unbelievable and I will never forget it. Every part of it!
Nick Lima: Watching penalty kicks in the FA Cup match between Everton and Chelsea, and seeing Everton win while the crowd chanted “USA! USA!” for goalkeeper Tim Howard.
Sam Engs: Any of the training meals, and just the time spent with the Tottenham boys and staff at Spurs Lodge.
2) What was one defining moment from the trip?
Edmonds: Walking around London because every place we went to had hundreds of years of history behind it.
Pillon: Entering onto the field in the 68th minute in the match against Leicester. One of the coolest moments of my life. I also got to switch jerseys with the left winger I was marking! I will always keep that jersey.
Lima: My appearance for the Earthquakes during the match against Colchester United.
Engs: Playing in a friendly with the Quakes in the match against Colchester United.
3) What was the best part about training with Tottenham Hotspur?
Edmonds: Experiencing the speed of play and understanding that if we want to play
at the top level we are going to have to play at that speed.
Pillon: It exposed my weaknesses. It gave me a great starting point so when I go home I know exactly what I need to work on. It also showed me I had some strengths that are very positive, but I need to keep working hard.
Lima: Learning the speed at which the Spurs players play at.
Engs: Just being around top-level first team and reserve players on a daily basis.
4) What’s one sentence that describes the difference between American Academy soccer and Spurs Academy soccer?
Edmonds: The technical aspect of the Spurs Academy is much greater than that of American Academy soccer.
Pillon: Football is not just a job, but your entire life from age 16 and up. In America, it is often seen as a secondary activity.
Lima: The Spurs Academy has more technical players, and everyone is mentally prepared every practice.
Engs: The skill and passion are two things that set apart the Spurs Academy.
5) What’s one lesson Troy Dayak taught you during the trip?
Edmonds: How to be a beast! One day, we were walking back from Spurs Lodge and
were about to cross the street to the hotel. From behind, we see Coach Dayak
catching up to us. Then, when he passes us he says: “Always got to be
Pillon: Always respect the senior players on the field, soak everything up because it was an amazing opportunity, and always be first!
Lima: Don’t go anywhere without him.
Engs: How to be a beast.
6) What was the best advice you received from the Tottenham Academy staff?
Edmonds: 7-to-1. Make seven runs to receive the ball once.
Pillon: Don’t compare yourself to the players at the Spurs Academy, because it’s a completely different system in America. Also, no matter how good you are on the offensive side of the ball, as a defender, you can never forget your defensive responsibilities on the field.
Lima: Do not let the mistakes affect your game. Just get on with it and don’t take it personally.
Engs: Define yourself as a player and master it.
7) When you visited the Tottenham Hotspur store, what did you buy?
Edmonds: A sweatshirt, a hoodie, a beanie, arm-length gloves for my sister, and a sweatshirt for my mom.
Pillon: Two jackets, two shirts, two shorts, and a jersey. (All on sale!)
Lima: A Tottenham jacket, sweats, and a t-shirt for my brother.
Engs: All the gear my money would allow!
8) What is the first thing you ate when you got back to the States?
Pillon: In-N-Out. Triple-triple and animal fries.
Lima: A double double from In-N-Out. There’s too much chicken here!
Engs: Mom's home cooking.
9) What was your favorite stadium that you saw during the trip?
Edmonds: White Hart Lane
Pillon: Stamford Bridge
Lima: White Hart Lane
Engs: Stamford Bridge
10) What is one word that you would use to describe London?